Looking For the Next Big Thing

High-definition television has definitely come of age over the last decade, moving rapidly from technology demonstration to the accepted norm. Few exhibitors at IBC2010 will bother to label their high-definition products; we expect most video to be HD. But is HD the end of the road? Is this all the resolution we need? Or are there even more immersive experiences on the horizon?

IBC2010 is the place to find out. There will be a demonstration of ultra high-definition television, plenty of stereoscopic 3D, and the chance to talk about other ideas.

Japanese national broadcaster NHK brought its Super Hi-Vision demonstration to IBC in 2008. It worked then in conjunction with British and Italian broadcasters and communications companies to demonstrate not just the incredible pictures and sound, but a complete system including managing clips on a server and delivering live broadcasts by satellite and fibre.

Super Hi-Vision is returning for IBC2010, with new cameras and displays, and live pictures from the centre of Amsterdam each day. Those pictures are 16 times the resolution of today’s HD — 7680 pixels on 4320 lines, at 60 progressive frames a second — it looks absolutely seamless.

The sound is equally immersive, with 22.2 audio channels, including sub-bass speakers at the front and rear of the viewer, and surround-sound speakers set at three heights, with a centre channel directly overhead.

New for 2010 are practical full-resolution cameras, with three image sensors each of 33 million pixels. Demonstrations at the RAI convention center include a theatre with full-resolution projectors and a new generation of 58-inch plasma screens. The Super Hi-Vision theatre is free, but always a hot ticket at IBC – make sure you collect yours early.

Maybe the future is not in greater spatial resolution, but in three-dimensional imagery? Certainly it is transforming the movie world, with “Avatar” breaking all box office records. Can it do the same in the home?

IBC is the place to find out. Many exhibitors are planning 3D presentations, showing how the challenges of production, post production, content storage and delivery can be resolved. Expect to be picking up the polarised glasses regularly as you tour the show floor.

Stereoscopic 3D runs as a thread through the whole conference, too. Free for all visitors are sessions on shooting and post production for 3D; take in the Sunday 12 September primer if you are new to the subject; immerse yourself in the debate in the conference on digital cinema Tuesday 14 September; learn from the professionals in the new Digital Media Training workshops; and try it for yourself in the Production Village and Post Production Zone.

You also get the chance to see it at its best with free movies on Saturday 11 and Monday 13 September — and this year with a special screening on Saturday 11 September at 18:30 of the Walt Disney Company’s Pixar Animation Studios production of “Toy Story 3.”

Or maybe you think that future experiences lie in a different direction altogether. You can be certain that, if someone is working on it, then they will be talking about it – and showing it — at IBC2010.